The county council will spend £1.1million on a ‘16-week blitz’ to try to get back on track in its battle against potholes across Northumberland.
At Tuesday’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s cabinet, it was announced that the money, from a Government fund, will be spent after ‘recent storms have caused (and continue to cause) major damage to the council’s highways infrastructure’.
A report from highways delivery manager Steve Bucknall states that ‘prior to the first storm in December, the pothole backlog had been eradicated’.
However, there are now 2,700 potholes that are beyond their target response time for repair as ‘the recent deterioration has seen the backlog return, mainly on the classified network as inspections have concentrated on the strategic routes’.
Mr Bucknall warns that the backlog figure will rise further in the coming weeks ‘as the low temperatures continue and the impact on the classified network is more accurately assessed and defects are identified and recorded’.
Plus, there are currently 327 larger defects ranging from two m² to 100m².
Pothole reports to the council from the public rose by 300 per cent over the last quarter with 1,198 in December, 2,692 in January and 2.044 in February.
Now that the weather conditions have warmed up sufficiently, it was proposed that the council’s two Jetpatcher machines are deployed immediately and a further eight hotbox teams are put in place, which will cost £220,000 and £474,000 respectively.
Plus, for £256,000, two additional drainage gangs are to be formed to cover the north and west of the county with the remaining £150,000 for patching repairs.